UK Test and Trace Service – Verifying a call is genuine

Last week, the government launched its Test and Trace service, aimed at contacting those who may have come into contact with someone with coronavirus symptoms.

Soon after the launch, reports were appearing that scammers were exploiting the launch of the service to send fake Test and Trace messages that were actually phishing attempts.

Over the weekend, Jenny Harris deputy chief medical officer said that people will be able to know if they are genuinely being called by Test and Trace as “it will be very obvious in the conversation that you have with them that they are genuine.” This is not very helpful.

There are a number of much better ways to verify if you are being contacted by genuine NHS Test and Trace staff. You should not rely on how “obvious” it seems someone is genuinely from Test and Trace.

Here are some things to look out for.

What you will be asked for 

Firstly, real contact tracers will never do any of the following:

  • Ask you for details of card or bank account numbers
  • Ask you to provide or fill in social media login details
  • Ask you to set up a pin
  • Ask you to download anything

You should only be asked for the information found on the contact tracing website and on the site.

This will include your full name, date of birth, and details of any symptoms you may have.

How you will be contacted

If you have tested positive for coronavirus, you will either receive a call, text, or email from NHS Test and Trace with instructions on how to share details of people you have been in close recent contact with.

If you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you will be contacted in the same ways and asked about symptoms.

You will only ever be called from the number 0300 013 5000, or you will be texted from “NHS”.

However, please remember, it is relatively easy for scammers to fake numbers or text addresses.

If you do not feel comfortable talking on the phone, or suspect the call to be a scam, you can ask for an email or a text that will invite you to use the Test and Trace web site instead.

From this email, you should only ever be directed to this web address:

You can check this by looking in the address bar near the top of your web browser to see if this is the address shown—it should also have a small padlock symbol next to it, indicating that the website connection is secure.

If you see a different address, it is very likely a scam, and you should close the window immediately.

This is an abridged version of the helpful information provided by Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact checking charity. The full article can be found here.